The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 14, 2013

Pennsylvania gets strict on electronic device waste

— A new state law requiring the recycling of computers, televisions and other electronic devices will mean a little more effort on the part of residents but a big benefit to the environment, officials say.

Pennsylvania's "Covered Device Recycling Act" goes into effect Jan. 24 and will prohibit many electronic devices from being discarded into landfills and incinerators. The law means residents will no longer be able to place their computers, monitors, keyboards, printers and a number of other electronics on the curb along with their trash for pickup.

"If they set out TVs to the curb they won't get picked up," Penn Township Manager Jeff Garvick said. "They can bring it down to the drop-off site. We collect electronics every day."

The act also requires manufacturers of covered devices, like televisions and computer monitors, that are sold or offered for sale in Pennsylvania to make collection programs available to residents for the recycling of those devices. Though not required, some retailers are also offering collection programs.

Ellen O'Connor, spokeswoman for the YCSWA, said staff at the waste-to-energy facility also have been removing electronic items from the waste stream as trash is brought in for incineration.

But starting Jan. 24, waste haulers will be prohibited from picking up those items. In fact, waste haulers have been directed to place stickers on electronic devices that provide directions for where to go to properly manage them.

Many consumer electronic products contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury as well as other materials that are better kept out of the environment, officials said.

According to the enviornmental group PennFuture, which was instrumental in getting the law approved in November 2010, "e-waste" comprises about 2 percent of the overall municipal waste stream, but accounts for nearly 70 percent of the toxic materials disposed in landfills.

A typical cathode ray tube computer monitor, for a non-flat screen model, contains 4 to 7 pounds of lead.

"Everything has a computer board in it now," PennFuture President and CEO George Jugovic Jr. said. "This protects both our air and our water."

Jugovic said the law was crafted to also help spur the creation of jobs in the recycling industry. He pointed out that companies, such as Pittsburgh-based eLoop, have developed to properly handle the material.

"It takes advantage of free market and private enterprise to develop an industry that protects the environment," he said.

Adams County Environmental Service Director Bicky Redman said it is important to make sure those collecting electronics material are certified with the state before handing in material. She also recommended consumers ask retail stores whether they accept items for recycling.

O'Connor said the authority has been trying to inform the public about the new requirements for more than a year.

"I think people are aware of it. How it will impact them, I'm not sure," she said. "There are a number of options for people."

Under the act, "covered devices" include televisions, desktop and laptop computers, computer monitors and computer-connected items such as a mouse, keyboard, printers and fax machines. A number of other items, such as answering machines, compact disc players, electric typewriters, cell phones, hard drives, laptops, and gaming products are also accepted at the collection sites.

O'Connor said the county and participating municipalities are reimbursed for the electronics they collect.

"There is a value for electronic material right now. There is a reimbursement for them to participate," she said.

The authority has a contract with New York-based Eco-International to handle the recycling of its electronic material. The company was chosen because of its responsible reputation.

"They recycle as much as they possibly can. We know it's not going to a third-world country. That was an important factor for us," she said.

To register online

Residents can take their electronics to the Penn Township recycling center on Heights Avenue, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information on the state's electronic recycling program and collection sites, click here.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • beach boys.jpg 'Love those Beach Boys

    Despite riding the wave of success for more than 50 years, founding member Mike Love of The Beach Boys is anything but bored.

    March 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • third day 1.JPG Christian entertainers ready to rock arena

    Top Christian performers will join together for one big evening of music.

    March 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • raz.jpg "Grown Ups 2" razzed

     "Grown Ups 2" is making the most noise at this year's Golden Raspberry Awards

    January 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • iStock_000022758530XSmall.jpg 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It's that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying.

    December 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • 8a5319c0595635132e67b282cdcd3136.jpg 6 creative ways to use your Thanksgiving leftovers

    The day of eating has passed and the fridge is full of leftovers. Check out our Pinterest board of recipes and creative ways to make meals from the remnants of Thanksgiving.

    November 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0801-couple-married.jpg Engagement ring lost, found on wedding-eve bike ride across Iowa

    When a bride-to-be lost her engagement ring while cycling across the state of Iowa last week, finding it again seemed like an impossible task.

    August 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Film-Speedy Zombies_Denn.jpg Penn State prof lends zombie expertise to World War Z

    In a scene of the movie "World War Z," hundreds — maybe thousands — of virus-infected people swarm at the base of a wall in Jerusalem to find more humans to bite and infect. These zombies then form a human ladder to charge over the wall, which Israel's government had put up in the hope of sparing the city the wrath of the creatures.

    A professor at Penn State had something to do with that part of the movie.

    June 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX People Paula _Denn.jpg Paula Deen's 'Today' appearance ends in tears

    Paula Deen dissolved into tears during a "Today" show interview Wednesday about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past, saying anyone in the audience who's never said anything they've regretted should pick up a rock and throw it at her head.

    June 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • NY Premiere White Hou_Denn.jpg Movie Review | 'White House Down' doesn't live up to expectations

    "Independence Day", The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012" were guilty pleasures — excessive in every way, from their frenetic Wile E. Coyote action sequences down to their impressive A-list casts. And they worked. But while Emmerich's "White House Down" mostly sticks to the same formula, this latest cinematic assault on the Oval Office fails to deliver on the campaign promise that it will be as fun as the original "Die Hard."

    June 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • gtr-tatpastor01-06081_Denn.jpg For pastors, tattoos as symbols of faith

    As the spiritual leader for two United Church of Christ congregations, the Rev. Richard Lindsay-Bignell found a way to combine his love of the ministry and his passion for art.

    June 10, 2013 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results